Rain prompts evacuations, school closures in Malibu

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Rain prompts evacuations, school closures in Malibu
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Malibu residents are preparing for more rain and potential mudslides as a series of storms continues to hit Southern California this week.

MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- Malibu residents braced for more rain and potential mudslides as a series of storms continued to hit Southern California this week.

Evacuations have already been ordered for properties adjacent to steep hillsides, which are most at risk for mudslides and debris flows.

Schools in Malibu were closed as a precaution on Tuesday, and Santa Monica - Malibu Unified School District officials announced the closure will remain on Wednesday.

The Malibu area was hit hard by the Woolsey Fire in November, leaving hillsides bare and less able to absorb the flow of water during a storm.

At one mobile home park in the area, some people were choosing to evacuate, while others stayed.

"I'm just hoping there's not going to be any slides and I can just come back home," said Malibu resident Robyn Moruzzi. "But if there are, I'm prepared to walk."

Other residents who prepared with plenty of sandbags around their homes said they hope their work will be good enough to stop any potential hazards.

"It's not that the house is in imminent danger of actually coming off it's foundation, but the mudflow because we're close to the ocean - through the driveway, the patio and potentially in the house," said Malibu resident Mike Reiso.

Tuesday's rain was steady and moderate, and no major damage was reported in the area. But more showers are expected to return on Wednesday.

The recent storms have already caused a muddy mess on major roads. Pacific Coast Highway was shut down for hours Monday following a mudslide. There was still some cleanup underway on Decker Canyon Road early Tuesday.

A mandatory evacuation order went into effect Tuesday morning in these communities:

Corral Canyon / El Nido

Escondido / Old Chimney

Escondido Drive / Latigo Canyon

Malibu West / Trancas Canyon

Malibou Lake

All of Ramirez Canyon Road and adjacent streets

Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park and Restaurant

Two evacuation centers for Malibu residents opened Tuesday: the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center (27040 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas); and Santa Monica High School (601 Pico Blvd.).

The schools closed include:

Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, Point Dume Marine Science School, Webster Elementary School and Malibu Middle and High School. This includes the preschool, and the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu is also closed. (All Santa Monica Schools remain open.)